Breath in. Breath out.
It’s a process so easy and humanly natural to most, but when you step on the mat with Dana Charvet, it’s a whole different ball game.
“If you breathe and hold still in a posture, it’s yoga. If you’re breathing deeper and moving from posture to posture, it’s Tai Chi,” Charvet said.
Dana, the 2019 USA Tai Chi Instructor of the Year, has almost 40 years of martial arts experience and has been inducted into the USA and Masters Martial Arts Hall of Fames. Dana was a member of the USA Judo and Boxing Olympic teams in 1980-1981 as well as a World Champion kickboxer in 1981.
But, it’s at his Grateful Body studio in downtown Morro Bay where many have come to learn the Charvet way of Tai Chi.
“What really made me different and what made my teachers different and what made my students different, it’s the rooting of the Tai Chi,” Charvet said. “It’s the breathing, how you move, how you feel about yourself.”
You can do all that with four simple steps.
“Breath in the mouth, swallow, and out of the mouth, you can control a little bit of the mental brain. In the mouth and out the nose, you can control the emotional,” Charvet explained. “Nose and mouth is physical, and nose and nose combined with fluid movement is your okay spiritual mood.”
Dana responds incredibly well to different skill levels. It’s his versatility, personality, and compassion that keeps his students coming back for more.
“Every class is different, not one class is the same,” said Charvet’s student Tami Cruz. “He is actually pretty funny, so he cracks jokes in between and keeps you engaged.”
“Any issue I’m dealing with physically, he addresses it during class,” added fellow student Suzanna Mezzapesa. “He makes sure when I leave that I have tools to work with that situation.”
There are even times when Dana becomes his own student. His teachings were put to the test last April when he learned of his son’s death.
“The seconds I found out, I felt this overwhelming stress feeling. I felt shortness of breath. I felt my muscles contract,” Charvet remembered. “When they told me my son passed away, it was the hardest thing I had ever felt, heard, and had to deal with.”
It was Tai Chi that helped him manage life’s darkest moment.
“I used my breathing set to control my emotion, used my body movements to control my emotion, and that’s the only thing that’s been able to help me deal with that,” Charvet added.
Teaching Tai Chi and other forms of martial arts is Dana’s passion, and spreading his knowledge to others gives him peace of mind.
“The greatest thing is having something that I can share with someone that makes them better than what they would’ve been without my help. It’s how you take your goals and challenges and how you accomplish them.”
If you’re interested in checking out one of Dana’s classes, visit Grateful Body on Facebook.